Regulatory Fee Season Has Arrived

Posted on August 30th, 2019 by

We hate to characterize the annual obligation for commercial broadcast stations to pay money to the FCC as a season, but we did anyway. So there. After its usual late start, much deliberation, and a mad crunching and re-crunching of numbers, the FCC has decided how much commercial stations (that are not otherwise exempt) must pay for the privilege of holding on to that license to use broadcast spectrum.

The deadline for remitting regulatory fees is September 24, 2019, so starting today, there are 25 days left to make your payment. The FCC issued a public notice about that, along with details on how to pay up. You can look up how much your station owes at this link, and then go to this page to pay them. No mailing of checks – electronic payment is the only way to pay your fees. If the total amount a licensee owes is $1,000 or less, they are exempt under the de minimis rule, and can simply kick back and relax. If that’s you, please know that we are genuinely happy for you. But above that level, and the credit card will get a work out. Oh, by the way, the credit card only works if the amount you’re paying is less than $24,999. Otherwise, your options are ACH or wire transfer.

Being late by one day earns you the privilege of paying a 25% penalty on top of the fee. We’ve heard of many excuses for those “last day” payors that encountered difficulties (credit card limit blocks payment, credit card gets locked, computer decides to download new software that day, dog ate my regulatory fee homework, employee that pays them drank too much coffee, binge watching favorite show, I forgot …). None of these excuses work. The penalty applies, and resistance is futile. So, here’s a tip. Don’t wait until the last day.  You’re welcome.